Have you ever wanted to know the secret key to success?
Who hasn’t! There are countless books, podcasts, articles, videos, and seminars dedicated to helping people find the answer to that very question. In fact, all of those resources make the personal development “industry” worth approximately $10 Billion.
With numbers like that, it’s safe to say that just about everyone wants to be more successful.
But if personal development were the key to success, wouldn’t the people spending all that money be well on their way to achieving sweet, sweet success? I mean, they’re learning a ton, so they have to be, right?
A few years ago a close friend and mentor of mine introduced me to my first personal development book, and since then I’ve been hooked. Maybe you’re the same way. Perhaps you love reading book after book, watching hours of video, and tuning into the latest episodes of your favorite podcast.
That’s great! Not many people are doing what you’re doing.
I’m a huge fan of learning from books, blogs, and podcasts, but all of the learning in the world wouldn’t help us achieve success if we never took Action towards our goals and dreams.
Learning + Action = Success
Let’s look at an example. Maybe you want to be an entrepreneur and start your own business.
You can study how the great entrepreneurs of the world started their businesses, you can read every book ever written on the topic, and you can even go to school and get your MBA, but if you never take that knowledge and use it to start your own business, then you would never be a successful entrepreneur.
You might say, “the more you know before you start, the better,” and in some cases, I might agree with you. Obviously, you would want flying lessons prior to jumping into the cockpit of a plane, but if your quest to “know more” is constantly preventing you from taking the first step towards your goals, then you’re better off learning along the way.
Most of the time, no amount of planning or learning could prepare you for every situation you might encounter along your path to success. And even if you could learn all of the theoretical answers, the only way to know the right answer is to explore it in the moment.
A Chain Reaction of Opportunity
You see, for every action you take, for better or worse, you experience an outcome. Then, based on that outcome, you decide to take a new action. It starts a chain reaction of hands-on learning that you cannot get any other way. As you take action and make decisions, you will find new opportunities.
Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Effect?
Our present lives are built on billions of choices, situations, decisions, and actions. What if we were to alter even the smallest event in our lives ten years ago? How different would our life be today?
One change could alter millions of other variables, decisions, and outcomes. There’s no way to know how each tiny situation will impact the future.
The same is true for our future success. Every little decision we make and action we take can alter our next set of opportunities, but we won’t know what those opportunities are until we take the first action and begin the chain reaction.
“But that sounds risky!”
“I can’t do that! I might fail!”
“I need to know more! I haven’t learned enough!”
I know, I know – it’s scary! I’m not saying it will be easy. For a long time, I avoided taking any action towards my goals, and I didn’t know why for the longest time, but one day it suddenly occurred to me: it was easier to imagine my goals than to strive for them. I was always “working up to it.”
Our imaginations are capable of incredible things, but sometimes it can work against us. Fear of failure, learned helplessness, and self-limiting beliefs are products of our imagination, and they ultimately prevent us from taking action that, deep down, we know we need to take.
Face Your Fear of Failure
No one wants to fail! That’s why the fear of failure often causes us to freeze.
The truth is, on the path to success, you’re going to stumble, run into walls, and even experience failure, but those are the most crucial parts of the learning process.
Now, I don’t like to use the word fail, because it implies that whatever we’re trying to do is a total loss; that it’s over, but that’s not true. Facing failure is the best form of hands-on learning we can get. It is often in failure that the greatest opportunities for success are found.
When things are going well, it’s tough to audit what we’re doing right. We chalk it up to luck, or we assume that we’re doing everything right. But when we fail, we’re offered the opportunity to examine what didn’t work.
To use a classic example, if you touch a hot stove and burn your hand, you know not to touch a hot stove again. The same is true in life and of our mishaps. If we take a step back and learn from the failure, then we can come up with a better, stronger plan for moving forward.
The mistake that so many people make is quitting when they hit a roadblock, but this is a missed opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. If you’re going to be a person of action and achieve great success, you have to get comfortable in learning from failure.
Silence Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
“Self-limiting beliefs are the biggest obstacles standing in the way of your full potential.” That’s something I like to tell people who are struggling to take action in their lives.
Because you spend more time with your inner voice than anyone else in your life, and if you’re telling yourself that you’re not good enough or that you can’t do something, you’re going to believe it and it’s going to hold you back.
So, if you’re avoiding taking the first step towards your goals or dreams, you need to learn how to silence your inner voice or how to change the inner dialogue. If you can’t tune out your negative self-talk, try practicing self-affirmations out loud.
Tell yourself things like, “I know enough to get started. I’ll figure it out along the way. If I mess up, I’ll learn something new. I’ve got this!”
No More Waiting! Let’s Take Action!
If you’ve learned anything from this post, I hope it’s that the key to success is taking action. But you may still be wondering how to get started. What is the first step?
In a recent post, I wrote about how you can break down your biggest, most exciting goals into smaller, “domino” goals. Using the Domino Effect, you can then achieve your goals much more easily, but best of all, it will help reveal the very first thing you need to do. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and the Domino Effect will help you identify that first step.
If you’re unsure of what your goals are and therefore have no idea how to break them down, you might want to experiment with Blue Sky Thinking. It’s a fantastic exercise for figuring out where you want your life to go. You can read all about it here.
So, are you inspired to take action?
As a good friend of mine always says, “You only live once!” (#yolo) So, why not take some serious action, dive in, take a risk, and get going with your plans and dreams.
It only takes one little step forward. What’s the worst that could happen? Seriously, contact me, and I’ll talk you through the worst case scenarios and give you the confidence and support you need to achieve success. You’ve got this!